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By: Alison Dromgoole |Chief Hearing Therapist |Department of Audiology and Hearing Therapy, Southend University Hospital

A Day in the Life of  Hearing Therapist

I work as part of the Audiology team, working together to support people with hearing difficulties and related issues.

The majority of my day is spent seeing people who are experiencing tinnitus but I also see people with a variety of other issues. These include sensitivity to sound, balance problems and, of course, hearing difficulties which can be anything from very mild to profound.

Whatever the problem the initial appointment may take up to an hour. During this time I will listen to the patient to find out what the problem is, how it developed and how it is affecting their life. We will then discuss the mechanism of the ear and the brain to understand how these problems may have come about. For many people having an understanding of the problem will be a great relief and be enough to reduce their anxiety so that they can manage without further intervention. For others further discussion about management strategies will be beneficial. It is important that this is a collaborative approach as appropriate management strategies will vary depending on the individual and their circumstances. What helps one person may be inappropriate for someone else. Anxiety, tension and sleep problems often become part of the discussion. Obviously health related symptoms can cause anxiety and worry but also many of them, especially tinnitus and sensitivity to sound, can be aggravated by other stresses creating vicious circles with one problem aggravating another. Strategies to help break into these cycles can be discussed and included in the individual management plan.

Review appointments can be made to give ongoing support and to check whether the agreed strategies are helping or whether they need to be adjusted to give greater benefit.

This year we have all seen changes to the way we live and Audiology is no different. Although I can still see people face to face when it is necessary most of my appointments are currently being conducted over the phone or via video calls.

I cannot resolve all of a person’s issues but one of the most important aspects of my role is that I have time to listen. With this and a collaborative approach to support and management, I aim to help people reduce the impact their symptoms are having on their quality of life.

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